Timeline of encyclopedias

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This is a timeline of encyclopedias.

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Time period Development summary More details
"Almost all the knowledge that humans acquired during their first 500,000 years of wanderings has been lost—more than 99 percent of human history. This tragedy happened because primitive people had no e›ective method of preserving such information."[1]
18th century The modern encyclopedia is developed from the dictionary.
21st century Digital and open-source versions appear. Wikipedia

Full timeline

Year Subject/discipline Details Language
367 BC–246 BC "King Ptolemy I (367/366 or 364–283 B.C.), and later his son, Ptolemy II (308–246 B.C.), planned nothing less than the collection of all Greek writings. They poured large quantities of gold into the project, and even resorted to piracy in the interest of amassing knowledge. More than once each of the Ptolemys confiscated the book cargoes of ships that anchored in Alexandria’s harbor. They borrowed the works of three great playwrights from Athens, copied them, and then returned the copies rather than the originals to the Greeks"[1]
20 BC Roman grammarian Marcus Verrius Flaccus compiles an encyclopedia, which would be lost. However, this would become the source material for a dictionary prepared by Sextus Pompeius Festus, an encyclopedic dictionary of the type made famous in 1806 by the American Noah Webster.[1]
AD 77 Roman author Pliny the Elder publishes the first 10 books of his Natural History[2], which is frequently addressed as the first ancient encyclopedia.[3] "Of all the Greek and Roman encyclopedists, undoubtedly the most influential was Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23–79), who lived shortly after Celsus and who completed Historia Naturalis, or Natural History, consisting of 37 parchment scrolls and 2,493 articles. The work is still studied today, and handwritten copies were the prize volumes of every medieval library. Pliny was a self-taught man who gathered material for his encyclopedia from 473 authors, mostly Greeks."[1] Latin
<47 AD Roman encyclopedist Aulus Cornelius Celsus writes De Medicina, a medical treatise largely ignored by contemporaries. It would be discovered by Pope Nicholas V and would be published in 1478, becoming one of the first printed medical works after the introduction of the printing press.[4][5] Latin
62 AD – 64 AD Naturales quaestiones Latin
220 AD Chinese encyclopedia Huanglan (“Emperor’s Mirror”) is completed by order of Cao Pi, the first emperor of the Wei. Like other Chinese encyclopedias, it is constructed for the needs of the civil service system and good government rather than recording absolute truths for the general reader.[1] Divided into fourty-odd parts, each of which divided into a dozen of subchapters, the book as a whole would be lost.[6]
410–487 "The encyclopedic gathering together of the early Roman and Greek writ�ers came to an end with the invasion of Italy by the Goths in A.D. 4¡0 and the Ostrogoths in 489. Thereafter, the preservation and development of ency�clopedias and other books shifted to the Christian Church, which became the center of all learning."[1]
557–641 "hortly there�after the Yi Wen Lei Ju (“Anthology of Art and Literature”) of Xun Ou-yang (557-64¡) was written in ¡00 chapters divided into 47 sections."[1]
560–636 "Another significant medieval encyclopedia was that written by St. Isadore of Seville (c. 560–636), a man who grew to adulthood in an environment not unlike that which surrounded Cassiodorus."[1]
600 "About the year 600 the Chinese encyclopedia Pian Zhu (“Stringed Pearls of Literature”) was completed, a part of which still survives."[1]
600–625 Etymologiae
630 "Yu Shi-nan’s encyclopedia called the Bei Tang Shu Zhao (“From a North Tang Writing Desk”) that he finished about the year 630. It has ¡60 chapters in ¡9 sections and emphasizes public administration. An annotated edition, edited by Gong Guang-tao, was published in ¡880."[1]
765–775 Abrogans
828–889 "The first Arabic encyclopedia was the work of Ibn Qutaiba (b. 828), a teacher and philologist. He was the author of a number of important works, and his encyclopedia, titled Kitab Uyun al-Akhbar (“The Best Traditions”), was divided into ten books. These covered power, war, nobility, character, learning and eloquence, asceticism, friendship, prayers, food, and women. Using traditional aphorisms, historical examples, and old Arabic poems, the author intended this encyclopedia to make the knowledge of his time acces�sible to all educated persons, particularly to those in the administrative class. Before Ibn Qutaiba’s encyclopedia had been rediscovered and published in ¡903, it was thought that the oldest Arabic encyclopedia was Mafatih al�Ulum (“Key to the Sciences”) by al-Farabi (870–950)."[1]
856 "Magnentius Hrabanus Maurus (d. 856), who became the abbot of Fulda in Germany, compiled an encyclopedia called De Universo (“On the Uni�verse”) that was an untidy mass of copied material, taken largely from Isadore’s Etymologies. As a work intended to convey all the most important knowledge then available, it was a failure. But it had one virtue that endeared it to the medieval scholars. He began his encyclopedia with God and the angels."[1]
870–950 "Before Ibn Qutaiba’s encyclopedia had been rediscovered and published in ¡903, it was thought that the oldest Arabic encyclopedia was Mafatih al�Ulum (“Key to the Sciences”) by al-Farabi (870–950). This author was greatly influenced by Greek concepts and drew on the works of such Greek authors as Philo, Nicomachus, and Euclid for some of his material in an attempt to reconcile Greek philosophy with Islam. The encyclopedia was divided into two parts: Arab knowledge and Foreign knowledge. Some of its subject mat�ter covered philosophy, grammar, logic, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, music, mechanics, and alchemy. Key to the Sciences was eventually translated into Latin under the title On the Origin of the Sciences, and was widely read in the Roman world."[1]
960 AD–1279 AD Cefu Yuangui[7]
976–983 "Taiping yulan 太平御覽 "Imperial overview from the Taiping [xingguo] reign (976-983)" is the first large encyclopaedia of ancient China."[8] "Around the same time the statesman Li Fang (925–996) and his col�laborators compiled the massive and still-popular encyclopedia Tai Ping Yu Lan (“An Understanding of Peace and Tranquility”). This contains ¡,000 books arranged in 55 sections. It has quotations and extracts from some ¡,600 other works, of which a list is given at the beginning of the encyclopedia"[1]
980–1037 "Other important Muslim encyclopedias include the Al Shifa (“The Heal�ing”) by Avicenna (980–1037)"[1]
1018–1078 "Other medieval encyclopedias—those by Michael Psellus (¡0¡8–¡078), Pierre Bercheure (¡0¡8–¡078), Lambert of St. Omar (compiled in ¡¡20), Gre�gor Reisch (d. ¡525), and Ra›aele Ma›ei (¡45¡–¡522)—are now of interest only to medieval historians. A consistent problem with these works is that they demand an understanding of church doctrines on every possible ques�tion and assume that the achievement of happiness and a satisfactory life lies only within the social setting established by the church."[1]
1025 Persian physician-philosopher Avicenna publishes The Canon of Medicine. Arabic
1086 "Finally there is the encyclopedia of natural science written by Shen Kuo about ¡086. Titled Meng Xi Bi Tan (“Dream System Essays”), it contains a history of China’s ancient science and technology. In this book is found the first description of the magnetic compass. It also contains a great deal on astronomy, mathematics, notices of fossils, the making of relief maps, descrip�tions of metallurgical processes, and biological observations. The author, a scholar in government service, was at various times an ambassador to several countries, a military commander, the director of hydraulic works, and chan�cellor of the Han-Lin (Forest of Writing Tools) Academy in Xian. Wherever he went he never failed to write down all that was of scientific and technical interest"[1]
1088 Dream Pool Essays
c. 1150 Etymologicum Magnum
1157 "Alexander Neckham, a contemporary of Abbess Harrad, was another medieval encyclopedist of note. He was born on the same night in ¡¡57 as the future King Richard the Lion-Hearted of England, and Alexander’s mother was chosen to be Richard’s wet nurse. The two boys grew up together. But Neckham decided to become a scholar instead of going with Richard on the Third Crusade."[1]
1167 Hortus deliciarum Latin
1190–1264 "But by far the most outstanding encyclopedia of the medieval period was Speculum Maius (“Larger Mirror”) by the Dominican friar Vincent of Beau�vais (c. ¡¡90–¡264). It represented a turning point in the history of encyclo�pedic production, as it was the last to be produced exclusively for the use of a limited religious community. In compiling it, Vincent started the modern practice of using assistants. A whole army of young monks were employed to travel to the monastery libraries throughout France to collect cathedral doc�uments. An indication of the wide influence of this encyclopedia during the Middle Ages is the fact that it is mentioned by Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales."[1]
1195 "Plagiarism seems to have been a natural outgrowth of the medieval copy�ing process. Several of the encyclopedias produced at this time were assorted without acknowledgment from bits and pieces of others people’s work. One such gathering, however, was outstanding for its craftsmanship and also for the fact that it was composed by a woman, the Abbess Harrad of Hohenburg, a convent near Strasbourg, in Alsace. The encyclopedia, completed shortly before ¡¡95, is one of the finest examples of illuminated manuscripts ever produced. It was called the Hortus Deliciarum (“Garden of Delights”) and was intended for use by the novices at the convent. The sections on the history of the world rely heavily on bib�lical stories, but from this encyclopedia we get a good idea of the status of education in the cloister schools of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries."[1]
1210–1214 English canon lawyer, statesman and cleric Gervase of Tilbury writes the Otia Imperialia.[9] Latin
1235-1264 Speculum Maius Latin
1240 De proprietatibus rerum.[10] "The thirteenth century also saw the appearance, in about ¡240, of De Proprietatibus Rerum (“On the Property of Things”) by an Englishman named Bartholomew de Glanville. He was a Franciscan monk of great learning who later became a lecturer at Magdeburg in Germany. His encyclopedia was prob�ably the most popular of its time. It was translated from Latin into English, French (by order of King Charles V), Spanish, Dutch, and Italian. In ¡49¡ it was printed for the first time in London, in the English translation, and it was again put out in a revived form during William Shakespeare’s lifetime under the title Batman uppon Bartholme (¡582). Shakespeare is said to have been well acquainted with this edition. The original manuscript had ¡,230 chapters in ¡9 books. Although the work was arranged in the systematic order of most such medieval writings— beginning with God and the angels and ending with weights and measures, numbers, and sounds—it is interesting to note that de Glanville used an alphabetical order within the volumes whenever possible."[1]
1259–1266 Legenda aurea or Legenda sanctorum Latin
1263–1266 "Sometime between ¡263 and ¡266 Brunetto Latini (d. ¡295), an Italian poet and teacher of Dante, compiled an encyclopedia titled Li Livres dou Tré�sor (“The Treasure Books”). It was based in part on Vincent’s Speculum Maius, but represented a major breakaway from Latin as the only language fit for hold�ing knowledge. Latini was a lawyer and he wanted to reach the cultured classes in Italy, who had largely abandoned Latin to the monks and priests and were now using French in their discourse. So he wrote the text in French, and the encyclopedia was widely used among intellectuals in both France and Italy. Manuscripts of the three-volume work have been found in almost all the dialects then used in France. The encyclopedia was not translated into Ital�ian until two centuries later."[1]
1295–1296 Tree of Science
1313 Agronomist Wang Zhen publishes his Nong Shu.
1377 Muslim Arab sociologist, philosopher, and historian Ibn Khaldun publishes his Muqaddimah, which includes discussions on political establishments and a classification of the sciences.[11][1]
1333 The Ultimate Ambition in the Arts of Erudition is completed.[12] Arabic
1379–1392 Lo Crestià
1387–1392 Llibre de les dones
1407 The Yongle Encyclopedia is completed. Written by some 2,000 scholars working under five chief directors and 20 subdirectors, it is the most extensive encyclopedia ever.[1] It is a largely-lost Chinese leishu encyclopedia commissioned by the Yongle Emperor of the Ming dynasty in 1403, comprising 22,937 manuscript rolls or chapters, in 11,095 volumes.[13] Fewer than 400 volumes survive today,[14] comprising about 800 chapters (rolls), or 3.5 percent of the original work.[15]
1412 Ṣubḥ al-aʿshā is completed.[16]
1471 De verborum significatione Latin
1493 The Nuremberg Chronicle is produced. Written as an encyclopedic chronicle, it contains hundreds of illustrations, of historical figures, events and geographical places.[17] Latin
1499 Suda[18]
1501 "The De expetendis et fugiendis rebus by Giorgio Valla was posthumously printed in 1501 by Aldo Manuzio in Venice."
1503 German scholar Gregor Reisch publishes his compilation Margarita Philosophica, one of the earliest printed encyclopedias of general knowledge.[19]
1531 "The two words were not joined into one until ¡53¡ when Sir Thomas Elyot in his Bok of the Governour coined the word “encyclopedia” to the delight of scholars. His action was subsequently approved by Samuel Johnson, Noah Webster, and other noted lexicographers. As Elyot defined it, the word meant “that lernynge whiche comprehendeth all lyberall science and studies.”"[1]
1531 Spanish (Valencian) scholar and Renaissance humanist Juan Louis Vives completes his De disciplinis libri XX .[20] An encyclopedical work, divided into three parts: De causis corruptarum artium, De tradendis disciplinis and De artibus. Also includes De prima philosophia seu de intimo opificio Naturae, De explanatione cuiusque essentiae, De censura veri, De instrumento probabilitatis, and De disputatione.[21] This work is composed primarily for the use of his pupil Guillaume de Croy, a man who would become a cardinal and archbishop of Toledo at the age of 19.[1]
1532 De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii[22] Latin
1538 Flemish scholar Joachim Sterck van Ringelbergh publishes in Basel his Lucubrationes vel potius absolutissima kyklopaideia, which becomes the first work to use a version of the word cyclopaedia in its title.[23] Latin
1551–1558 Swiss physician Conrad Gessner publishes his encyclopedic Historia animalium, with many illustrations.[3]
1559 Croatian encyclopedist Pavao Skalić publishes in Basel his Encyclopaediæ, seu orbis disciplinarum, tam sacrarum quam prophanarum, epistemon,[23] which is often considered to be the first encyclopedia to use the term encyclopedia in its title.[24] Latin
1608 Encyclopaedia Cursus Philosophici[25] Latin
1614 Roman Catholic prelate Antonio Zara, the Bishop of Pedena, completes his Anatomia Igeniorum et Scientiarum (“Anatomy of Talents and Sciences”), which becomes the first encycopedia to include an index.[1]
1645 Dell'Arcano del Mare[26] Italian
1653 Transylvanian Hungarian polyglot, pedagogist, philosopher and theologian János Apáczai Csere creates the first Hungarian encyclopedia.[1] Hungarian
1658 Orbis Pictus
1674 Catholic priest and theologian Louis Moréri first publishes in Lyon Le Grand Dictionnaire historique,[27] which emphasizes history, geography, and biographies, with the work arranged alphabetically under proper names. By this time printing is already proving itself the handiest way to arrange an encyclopedia, or at least the one by which it is easiest to make revisions to a printed page.[1] French
1690 "Another controversial French encyclopedia was prepared by Abbé Furetière (¡6¡9–¡688), a member of the French Academy. He had been appointed to a committee of the Academy assigned to complete the task of compiling a dictionary that would be the final authority among all French dictionaries. The committee met with regularity, but the members had such di‡culty agreeing on the nature of their task that the project dragged on for many years with little accomplishment. The project had been initiated in ¡639 and was still under discussion in ¡650 and even in ¡670. Part of the prob�lem was that the dictionary’s content had been narrowly circumscribed to include no entries on science or the arts. Furetière died before his encyclopedia was published in ¡690, but the controversy didn’t ebb until long after that. The work included a preface by Pierre Bayle that helped keep the argument going, and the fact that Furetière was a Jesuit priest and Bayle a Protestant skeptic churned the wheels of the French gossip mill. Under the name Dictionnaire de Trévoux (“Dictionary of the Fathers of Trévoux”), and with alterations Furetière probably would never have approved, this encyclopedia was sponsored and published by the Jesuits over a period of 50 years."[1]
1698 Lexicon Universale
1699 "The Shi Lei Fu (“Accumulated Knowledge”) of Wu Shu (947–¡002) was divided into ¡4 sections containing 100 chapters on celestial and terrestrial matters, mineralogy, botany, and natural history. Later writers added to this work so that by 1699 it contained 27 sections and ¡9¡ articles. Wu Shu also compiled a literary encyclopedia of 30 sections that was later incorporated into another, larger encyclopedia"[1]
1701-1707 Biblioteca Universale Sacro-Profana.[28] Italian
1704 John Harris publishes his Lexicon Technicum, which is considered the first purely English encyclopedia. The work emphasizes the sciences, is alphabetically arranged, and includes entries by some of the leading scholars of the day.[1] English
1728 Ephraim Chambers publishes his Cyclopædia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences.[29] "Ephraim Chambers’ Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences was completed in ¡728. The two-volume work was widely acclaimed for its scholarship. Samuel Johnson cited it as the reference that “formed his style” when Johnson talked about his own Dictionary of the English Language to his biographer, James Boswell. Chambers was even given the honor of membership in the Royal Society in ¡729 on the basis of the encyclopedia, and later the right to be buried with other noted authors in the cloisters at Westminster Abbey."[1] English
1741–1745 An Universal History of Arts and Sciences[30] English
1745–1746 Nowe Ateny Latin
1746–1851 Gianfrancisco Pivati publishes a 12- volume encyclopedia.[1]
1747 Du Yu prints his Jiu Dong (“Investigation of the Known”) an encyclopedia comprising nine sections including economics, law, music, political geography, examinations and degrees, rites and ceremonies, government, the army, and national defense.[1]
1756 The Complete Farmer: Or, a General Dictionary of Husbandry[31]
1765 Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences[32] English
1768 Encyclopædia Britannica[33] English
1789–1798 Dobson's Encyclopædia[34] English
1793 "The first Hungarian encyclopedia, cre�ated by János Apáczai Cseri, appeared in ¡653, while the first Russian one by V. N. Tatischev, only half of which was completed, came out in ¡793."[1]
1796 Encyclopædia Perthensis[35] English
1796–1808 "The German-language Conversations-Lexikon was published at Leipzig from 1796 to 1808, in 6 volumes."
1802 Domestic Encyclopedia[36] English
1802 English Encyclopaedia[37] English
1802–1820 "Abraham Rees’s Encyclopaedia (¡802–¡820)."[1]
1806 "Finally, the Greeks and Romans produced four other encyclopedias, none of which is worth much discussion. The one compiled by Marcus Verrius Flaccus about 20 B.C. (now lost), however, did become the source material for a dictionary prepared by Sextus Pompeius Festus, an encyclopedic dic�tionary of the type made famous in ¡806 by the American Noah Webster"[1]
1806–1807 A Dictionary of Arts and Sciences is published in London.[38] English
1809 British Encyclopedia, or Dictionary of Arts and Sciences[39] English
1817 Encyclopædia Metropolitana[40] "The Encyclopaedia Metropolitana did have a number of distinguished authors represented in it besides Coleridge. It contained excellent entries by astronomer Sir John Herschel; physicist Peter Barlow; mathematicians George Peacock, Augustus de Morgan, and Charles Babbage; and Archbishop Richard Whately. The post of general editor, after Curtis departed, passed from Rev. Edward Smedley to Hugh James Rose and then to Henry John Rose. The failure of the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana can be attributed to sev�eral factors. Its lack of alphabetical arrangement was confusing to a public that had by now begun to accept that system in the recently established Ency�clopaedia Britannica and Abraham Rees’s Encyclopaedia (¡802–¡820). The Metropolitana also took too long to complete (from ¡8¡7 to ¡845) and cost much more than Fenner had estimated."[1] English
1818 "ne other German encyclopedia, the Allegemeine Encyclopädie der Wis�senschaften und Künste, needs mention. Edited by Johann Samuel Ersch (¡766–¡826) and Johann Gottfried Gruber (c. ¡774–¡85¡), the encyclopedia was planned to be so comprehensive that it could never be completed. The production of this encyclopedia began in ¡8¡8 and by ¡889 included ¡67 vol�umes. The first part, covering information under the letters A to G, filled 99 volumes. Many of its entries were quite large. The one on Britain took up 4¡4 pages; the one on Greece, 3,688!"[1]
1820 "Although the market for encyclopedias in nineteenth- and twentieth�century Britain often seemed inexhaustible, not all publishers made a profit from such books. Many failed because their sets were too poor in quality or because they were not competitively priced. Among the best sellers, however, was The New Cyclopaedia designed by Abraham Rees (¡743–¡825), a well-known ¡4. Modern Encyclopedias Worldwide 123 Presbyterian minister. It was a completely original and finely illustrated work, and when completed in ¡820, it o›ered strong competition in England to the Encyclopaedia Britannica"[1]
1829 "The New American Cyclopaedia was not the first such work to be pro�duced in America. Earlier, Francis Lieber (¡800–¡872), a German in exile liv�ing in America, designed the Encyclopaedia Americana: a Popular Dictionary that was published in ¡3 volumes by a Philadelphia printer between ¡829 and ¡833. Lieber based the work on the seventh edition of the German Brockhaus and named it the Americana in hopes of reaching the same market that was currently buying the British editions and pirated American editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica."[1]
1829–1833 Encyclopedia Americana[41] English
1835 British Cyclopaedia[42] British Cyclopaedia of Arts and Sciences 1835 London 2 English
1842 Dictionary of Science, Literature and Art[43] English
1849 Cabinet Cyclopaedia London 133
1853 "The Herder Konversations-Lexikon, first published in ¡853, is now known 122 A History of Information Storage and Retrieval as Die Grosse Herder (“The Great Herder”). Its scholarship, accuracy, and thoroughness earned it a wide audience even though its content tended to provide only a Roman Catholic point of view. A fifth edition was published in ten volumes from ¡953 to ¡956. Various smaller versions of this encyclo�pedia also were published over the yea"[1]
1854 English Cyclopaedia[44] English
1856 The British Enquire within upon Everything is founded[45] as the earliest quick-sell, one-volume encyclopedia. Its publication would be suspended 96 years later in 1952.[1] English
1859 Chambers's Encyclopaedia[46] English
1865 "In France, Pierre Athanase Larousse (¡8¡7–¡875), a teacher who was the son of a blacksmith, began to publish Le Grand Dictionnaire Universel du XIXe Siecle in Paris in ¡865. It was anticlerical in tone and combined the fea�tures of both a dictionary and an encyclopedia. This French work went into many editions, the latest of which was issued in the ¡970s."[1]
1875 Nuova Enciclopedia Italiana[47] Italian
1878 "Alvin J. Johnson’s New Universal Cyclopaedia came out in four volumes in ¡878 and was reissued almost 20 years later in eight volumes. This second edition was edited by Charles Kendall Adams, the former president of Cor�nell University. The set was then enlarged to ¡2 volumes before it was dis�continued"[1]
1879 Natural history Biologia Centrali-Americana[48] English
1880–1884 Universal history Cyclopedia of Universal History[49]
1883 Cassell’s Concise Cyclopaedia is published in London.[50]
1884 Hardesty's Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia[51] English
1886–1902 "Inspired by the success of the Larousse enterprise, the French politician Ferdinand-Camille Drefus decided to put out his own encyclopedia, La Grande Encyclopédie. He published it between ¡886 and ¡902. It comprised 3¡ volumes and was an outstanding achievement, containing authoritative articles by leading French scholars, excellent biographical material, and rela�tively complete bibliographies. Although much of the content is now out of date, it is still considered an important source for many subjects"[1]
1889 Barkham Burroughs' Encyclopaedia.[52] English
1897 "Although it was the Americans who had the reputation among British�ers for bombastic sales techniques, it was in Great Britain that the first ency�clopedia was produced with the sole aim of selling a commercial product other than books, and in which the content was determined by the sales sta› 124 A History of Information Storage and Retrieval rather than the editors. This was the Pears’ Cyclopaedia, initiated in ¡897 by Thomas J. Barratt of the Pears’ Soap Company. Barratt was the mastermind of the Pears’ advertising program, which had turned a small London cosmetic shop into a huge international soap combine. “Any fool can make soap,” Bar�ratt liked to say. “It takes a clever man to sell it.”"[1]
1900 The Nuttall Encyclopædia[53] English
1900 Universal Cyclopaedia[54]
1901 Hill's Practical Encyclopedia[55]
1902 Collier's New Encyclopedia is first published.[56]
1902 Appleton’s Annual Cyclopaedia New York 14
1904 The New International Encyclopedia is issued in 17 volumes. It would be expanded to 20 volumes in 1916 and then to 24 volumes in 1922. It introduces a unique feature, letting maps be mounted on inserts so that subscribers could replace them whenever new maps were issued to take account of any geographical changes.[1] English
1905 The Harmsworth Encyclopedia: Everybody’s Book of Reference is published in London. Edited by George Sandeman, it would meet a genuine popular need, rapidly selling a half-million copies.[1] English
1905 "Finally, mention needs to be made of The Harmsworth Encyclopedia: Everybody’s Book of Reference that was published in London in ¡905. This was edited by George Sandeman and met a genuine popular need. It rapidly sold a half-million copies."[1]
1905 "The Espasa, more correctly titled the Spanish Enciclopedia Universal 126 A History of Information Storage and Retrieval Ilustrada Europeo-Americana, not only is considered a great national ency�clopedia but also one of the largest encyclopedias currently in use in the world—70 volumes. It was printed in Barcelona between ¡905 and ¡930. An entire volume is devoted to Spain alone, and this is separately revised and periodically issued. The Espasa is remarkable for its detail, lengthy bibli�ographies, international scope, and clear maps of even remote and obscure places. A miniature edition, the Espasa-Calpe: Diccionario Enciclopédico Abre�viado, has only seven volumes. This also has been printed in several editions"[1]
1906 New Standard Encyclopedia[57] English
1907 Catholic Encyclopedia[58]
1908 The Children's Encyclopædia[59] English
1909 Castes and Tribes of Southern India[60] English
1910 Aiton’s Encyclopedia Minneapolis 5[1]
1911 Anglo-American Cyclopedia New York 50[1]
1912 Book of Knowledge.[61] English
1912 Book of Knowledge New York 24[1]
1917 World Book Encyclopedia[62] English
1917 The Encyclopaedia Sinica[63] English
1919 American Educator Lake Blu›, IL 10[1]
1920 John H. Finley publishes the Nelson’s Perpetual Loose-leaf Encyclopedia in 12 volumes. In theory, the new pages, issued twice a year, would keep this encyclopedia up-to-date and useful for many years to come, but the method eventually would be abandoned because it could not attract enough sales.[1] English
1921 Collins Concise Encyclopedia[64] English
1922 Cassell's Book of Knowledge[65]
1922 "There also is the eight-volume Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia, which was started in ¡922 by the educator Frank Compton and edited by Guy Stan�ton Ford. Today this has grown to ¡5 volumes. At the end of each volume is an index that relates both text and illustrations in that book to the material in the other books"[1]
1922 General knowledge Compton's Encyclopedia[1] English
1925 Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani[66] Italian
1925 Australia Australian Encyclopaedia[67] English
1929 Treccani[68] Italian
1929–1939 "An Italian encyclopedia founded by Giovanni Treccani of the Istituto della Encyclopedia Italiana is one of the finest examples ever produced of a national encyclopedia. This 36-volume set called the Enciclopedia Italiana de Scienze, Lettere ed Arti was published between ¡929 and ¡939 and was edited by the philosopher Giovanni Gentile. Although intended to provide “an inven�tory of Italian knowledge” for an exclusively Italian audience, it reflected a broader international approach, and its bibliographies cited books and peri�odical articles in many languages. Unfortunately, parts of this encyclopedia also contained some of the most blatant examples of a nationalistic bias in recent history. These parts were produced in accord with the views of Ben�ito Mussolini’s fascist regime. In fact, the article on Fascism itself was writ�ten by Mussolini. The encyclopedia’s defense of Fascist ideology, however, did not impinge on the impartiality of much of the rest of the text."[1]
1931 An Outline of Modern Knowledge[69] English
1931 American Educator Encyclopedia Lake Blu›, IL 14[1]
1934 Britannica Junior Chicago 15[1]
1935 The Encyclopédie Française begins publication as a set of 21 books arranged in systematic order. Its loose-leaf binding permits supplementary pages to be provided to owners of the encyclopedia whenever information on the earlier pages is updated. The new pages could be inserted in place of the old ones without affecting the design of each volume.[1]
1935 "Special mention should be made of The Columbia Encyclopedia, first issued in ¡935 by the Columbia University Press. This one-volume work was a scholarly attempt to bridge the gap between the large encyclopedias and the cheap one-volume annuals. By omitting definitions and using many cross�references, the editors achieved an economy of space that has pleased many purchasers. The work concentrates on providing “first aid and essential facts” rather than technical details. It was issued in a second edition in ¡950, a third in ¡963, and a fourth in ¡975."[1]
1948 Hutchinson Encyclopedia[70] English
1948 Norsk Allkunnebok[71] Norwegian
1948 The American Peoples Encyclopedia is published in New York in 20 volumes.[1] English
1948 Austin’s New Encyclopedia Chicago 3[1]
1949 Collier's Encyclopedia is first published.[72]
1949 "Another example of such prejudice is found in the Bol’shaia Sovetskaia Entsiklopediia, or Great Soviet Encyclopedia, which the Soviet Union’s Coun�cil of Ministers decreed, in ¡949, “must show with exhaustive completeness the superiority of Socialist culture over the culture of the capitalist world.” Reviewers in the West watched the publication of each volume of this ency�clopedia with interest and amusement for its inclusion or exclusion of famous Russians according to the current state of their acceptance or condemnation by the government. When Secret Police Chief Lavrenti Pavlovitch Beria fell from power following the death of Stalin, the Great Soviet Encyclopedia removed the entry on Beria and provided all the encyclopedia owners with a special replacement section containing expanded entries on F. W. Bergholz (a forgotten eighteenth-century courtier), the Bering Sea, and the English philosopher Bishop Berkley."[1]
1954 Encyclopedia of Performing Arts[73] Italian
1954 Basic Everyday Encyclopedia New York 1[1]
1955 The Enciclopedia Labor is published both in Spain and Argentina. Beginning to appear in nine volumes, it prioritizes Spanish and Latin American matters. It is, however, lavishly illustrated with both color and halftone photographs as well as drawings.[1] Spanish
1956 Australian Junior Encyclopaedia Sydney 3[1]
1957 Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon 1815–1950
1962 American Home Library Steubenville, OH 1[1]
1962 The American Oxford Encyclopedia is published in New York, with 14 volumes.[1]
1962 Příruční slovník naučný
1963 Encyclopedia Bulgaria[74]
1964 Black’s Children’s Encyclopaedia 1964 London 1[1]
1980 Academic American Encyclopedia[75] English
1982–1989 Middle Ages Dictionary of the Middle Ages[76] English
1983 Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan[77] English
1985 Canadian history, Canadiana The Canadian Encyclopedia[78]
1985 Cyrillo-Methodian Encyclopedia
1987 Indian literature Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature[79] English
1988 Encyclopaedia Islamica[80] English
1989 Ma'lamat al-Maghrib[81] Arabic
1992 Ethics Encyclopedia of Ethics[82] English
1993 Encarta is released by Microsoft.[83] English
1993 "The concept of a free encyclopedia began with the Interpedia proposal on Usenet in 1993, which outlined an Internet-based online encyclopedia to which anyone could submit content and that would be freely accessible"
1994 Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland[84] English
1995 (January) "Project Gutenberg started to publish the ASCII text of the Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th edition (1911), but disagreement about the method halted the work after the first volume.W[85]
1996 Le Japon: Dictionnaire et Civilisation, later translated in English as Japan Encyclopedia. French
1996 Global Arabic Encyclopedia[86] Arabic
1997 International Encyclopedia of Sexuality[87] English
1998 Arab Encyclopedia Arabic
1998 "Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe This CD-ROM, which many consider to be the best of all the electronic encyclopedias, includes 4¡,000 articles that cover a wide range of material. There are also Internet connections to keep all the facts up to date. The text originally was based on Funk & Wagnalls’ New Encyclopedia, a respectable if not deep or inspired general-purpose work. But in ¡998, in the hope of appealing to college students, Microsoft acquired the rights to Collier’s multimedia encyclopedia (no longer available), which is targeted toward a slightly older audience."[1]
1998 Art, aesthetics Encyclopedia of Aesthetics[88] English
1998 Philosophy Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy[89] English
1999 The Encyclopaedia of Korea[90] English
2001 History, American studies Encyclopedia of American Studies[91]
2002 Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon
2003 Encyclopaedia Aethiopica[92] English
2003 Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite[93] English
2004 "The English Wikipedia, which was started in 2001, became the world's largest encyclopedia in 2004 at the 300,000 article stage"[94]
2005 Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine[95] English
2005 (June 19) Baike.com
2005 (November) Encyclopedia of India[96] English
2006 Encyclopedia of Earth English
2006 Baidu Baike[97] Chinese
2007 (February 16) Marefa[98] Arabic
2007 Do Not Open English
2008 (February 26) Encyclopedia of Life[99] English
2009 (January 2) Agropedia[100] English, Hindi
2009 Holocaust studies Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945[101] English
2010 Clothing, fashion Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion[102] English
2010 King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Arabic Health Encyclopedia[103]
2010 Motherhood Encyclopedia of Motherhood[104] English
2012 Conifers Encyclopedia of Conifers[105] English
2012 Encyclopedia of Islamic Jurisprudence[106] Arabic
2012 Encyclopedia of Hinduism[107] English
2013 The International Encyclopedia of Ethics[108] English
2017 Christianity Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States[109] English

Meta information on the timeline

How the timeline was built

Base literature:

  • A History of Information Storage and Retrieval by Foster Stockwell.[1]
  • Genealogy of Popular Science: From Ancient Ecphrasis to Virtual Reality by Jesús Muñoz Morcillo and Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha

The initial version of the timeline was written by Sebastian.

Funding information for this timeline is available.

Feedback and comments

Feedback for the timeline can be provided at the following places:


What the timeline is still missing

Timeline update strategy

See also

External links


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